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Review and Excerpt Tour: Jaded Hearts: Harper Sloan


JADED HEARTS (Loaded Replay #1)
Harper Sloan
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Expected December 13, 2016

Signing with Brighthouse Records was supposed to be everything we ever wanted—our better life. Our chance at everything we never had but always wanted. All our dreams would finally come true and we were on top of the world. It was our chance at the happiness we never had in life.

Our every desire was at our fingertips and the power of that feeling was all consuming. But then it took every dream we thought would come true and it slapped us in the face with the cold hard reality.

Dreams were just that…something that floated on the cusp of untouchable, taunting you with every graze of your fingertips before slipping even further away.

Happiness…that feeling is a joke.

In the end it became painfully obvious that each of us would always have each other, but we would forever be alone.

Wrenlee Davenport is the lead singer of the band Loaded Replay that also includes her twin brother, Weston, and best friends, Jamison and Luke. They are her family and support system. Her image has been crafted by their label to make her a sultry and sexy Goddess. She loves the music, but is tired of the paparazzi, fakeness, and the fact that they work endlessly without breaks. She feels like a prisoner in her own life and is trying to cope. Her past has caused her to be wary and untrusting, but deep down she longs to find her slightly imperfect Knight on a dark horse to love her for who she really is and not just what she can do for him. She is getting some unwanted attention from either rabid fans or possibly a stalker and her boys want to make sure she is safe and protected.

Chance Nash arrives from Corps Security and immediately takes charge of the situation and of her interest. He is a no-nonsense, stoic, controlled, ex-Marine who appears to be resistant to her charms. He wants to protect her, even if it is from himself. He feels guilty about the one "failure" in his career and it eats at him. But soon he is so immersed in her life that he becomes part of the public image. And he finds it hard to resist her pursuit and things get more personal.

They have a connection that they cannot deny and seems to grow at an accelerated pace. They are two broken people who shatter each other even more, but then bring the broken pieces back together and fit. He seems to be a catalyst for her to take a stand and make changes to her life. And she does the same for him. But that also causes a ripple effect throughout their lives. There are outside influences, threats, and important decisions to be made. Their lives are chaotic with many moving pieces and chances for things to go wrong. He still has concerns that she will question his true motivations. She is worried that he cannot handle her crazy life. Their hearts are both jaded, but they have the potential to heal and ground each other. 

Will Chance be able to keep her safe? And will they find their happily-ever-after even though their lives are complicated?

This is Wren's journey towards finding love, but also finding herself again, living life, enjoying the music, and reaching her full potential. It is also about Chance's need to find his own redemption and purpose.  And how together they begin to feel trust, hope, healing, and fill a void. It is funny, sexy, sweet, and has just a little suspense and drama. I really liked sassy, sweet Wren and protective, loving Chance. He was total alpha swoony-ness in one hot package. They both had such big hearts and so much love to give despite the pre-existing barriers around their hearts.

It introduces three charismatic and likable band mates, Weston, Jamison, and Luke who will be the male leads in their own stories. I also liked their stylist, Dyllan. There were also a couple fun cameos. I am interested to see what is going to happen with Jamison next and to see more with Wren and Chance as this series progresses.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

As the first in a new series, this book has the challenge of introducing a whole new set of characters while also moving readers slightly outside the Corps Security world. Jaded Hearts is the first book of the series, but Chance was introduced in Hope Town as a member of Corps Security and Cohen’s former roommate. In my head there should have been a closer tie to Corps, but as Chance was a fairly new member of the team there, that thinking was all on me. Though there is a security threat as one aspect of the plot, it quickly moved to the background of Chance and Wrenlee’s lives and almost became an afterthought until the very end.

Chance is holding on to insecurities left behind from an ex and the time he let down his guard and Dani was in danger as a result. But despite his fears, he is so sweet, so good, so strong. He stepped in immediately and took charge of the situation surrounding Wrenlee’s safety even before he was hired to do the job. Protection is in his blood.

Wrenlee, her brother, and her bandmates have been touring and recording non-stop for four years. She loves the music and her boys protect her from worries so she can focus on what she loves. But five albums later, she is having a hard time remembering why she loves the music so much, as there is no time to breathe, let alone relax in the demanding schedule Loaded Replay keeps. When the band feels her safety is in jeopardy, they look to hire outside security to keep her safe.

As a fake relationship forms to cover up the need for security, Wrenlee and Chance both realize they like having the other around. Wrenlee has never had anyone but her band around her, and finds it hard to let new people in, not knowing who to trust. Chance also doesn’t trust based on his own past, and these two fumble around not knowing if what they have is real or just what the media is portraying. I loved watching their reactions as the media spun their relationship further and faster, even as they tried to keep things level-headed when out of the public eye.

But though they tried to keep things from escalating beyond the physical spark that sizzled between them, the fire burned hot. There were a few physical scenes that didn’t quite work for me, but the chemistry was definitely there. These two don’t know what to do when the fake relationship starts to feel a lot like something real.

I really enjoyed getting to know Wrenlee and her bandmates. They should make for interesting characters in their own stories as we get to know more about them. The dynamic between the four band members is familial, though only Wrenlee and Weston are actually related. Their similar childhoods and love of music tied them together in a way that blood can’t make closer. I look forward to Weston’s story next, and learning a little more about flirty Jamison, and level headed Luke.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Goddamn, that smile is dangerous.
Who am I kidding?  He is dangerous.
I do my best to ignore him, but it’s impossible.  The steady brush of his arm against where mine is resting on our shared armrest constantly reminds me how much my body wants his touch.  The scent of his delicious cologne hits my senses, making me want to climb in his lap and rub my face over his chest to get a potent lungful of it.
I can’t even remember the last time I was this horny, which is pathetically sad, since it was probably around the same time I actually got laid.  Years.  I think.  Close to three.  Maybe that’s why I’m a hot mess lately.   I turn my head to study the side of his face and wonder if I can use this situation to my advantage.  I mean, after all, we are in a ‘relationship’ now.
He turns and gives me a questioning arch of his dark brows, but I brush it off in favor of playing Disney Emoji Blitz on my phone.
By the time we had hit cruising altitude, I could hear the other men around me snoring away but not Chance.  He’s fiddling with his phone, completely ignorant of the fact I’m about to start humping his leg.
“Excuse me,” I breathily say, unbuckling my belt and standing to move around him.  I stand there, my head bent slightly because of the overhead, and wait.  He doesn’t move, though.  Instead, he drops his phone to his lap and gives me his complete attention; his eyes even dance a little like he’s finding this whole damn thing funny.  “Excuse me,” I repeat, no longer breathy, and seconds away from coming.
No, that’s a lie.  I’m still breathy and very much seconds away from soaking my panties even more than they already are.
His large hands grab my hips, and he guides me down on his lap with no resistance from my treacherous body.
“Not what I meant,” I say through clenched teeth, trying to sound harsh and offended, but I just sound dazed and turned on.  I wiggle in his hold, trying to get free, but he’s too strong for me.
He leans up in his seat, his chest hitting my back and buries his face in my neck.  I’m sure anyone who saw us would see a loving couple who just can’t keep their hands to themselves.  He’s playing a dangerous game, though, because the second the solid, hard length of him presses against my backside, I forget this is supposed to be a game and squirm a little more.  His teeth nip at my shoulder at the same time his groan hits my ears.
“Stop moving, Wren,” he demands, tightening his fingers on my hips.
“You’re the one who put me on your lap.”  I curl my fingers over the empty seat in front of me and squeeze my eyes shut when I feel him growing harder under me.
“Yeah, because the flight attendant who just walked by had her phone out and pointed right at us.  She’s doing a shit job of making it look like she’s doing something with her paperwork.”  His hand comes off my hip, and he cups my jaw, turning my head to the side just when I was about to look up at where I last saw the attendant, forcing me to shift until all it would take is me throwing one leg over his body to be face-to-face.  “Do not look at her,” he stresses; the sudden movement of twisting my body makes me bounce slightly in his lap, rubbing my legging-clad ass against his erection.  His eyes drop to my mouth where I pull my bottom lip between my teeth and groan.
“Give me a reason not to look,” I dare him.
“You don’t want to go down that road, Wren.  I’ll protect you from the world, but you need to protect yourself from me.”
“No one is asking you to.”
Not even knowing if we’re still being watched, I twist my torso the rest of the way, pulling my legs up until they’re bent at his stomach between us.  Now that I’m facing him completely, I bring my hands up to curl them both around his shoulders before dragging them up to wrap around the corded muscles at the sides of his neck.  His nostrils flare, but he doesn’t stop me.  I give him the chance, but it never comes.  Dropping my head, I press my lips to his.  I explore his lips with small pecks and little licks of my tongue, learning his mouth before pressing more firmly.  He sucks in a breath when I open my mouth and slowly drag the tip of my tongue over his bottom lip.
And then his control snaps.
His hands—still at my hips—lift me effortlessly until my legs are no longer folded between us, but now digging into the hard armrests with my knees pushing into his thighs, my back hitting the seat in front of me.  His mouth opens, and his tongue meets mine, no hesitation whatsoever, as he deepens the kiss.
Our breathing echoes around us, making it sound like everyone on this plane could hear us, but I know it’s just because our faces are so close.  I let out a moan, one that he swallows, that turns into a whine when he pulls back.
“That can’t happen again,” he softly scolds, just as breathless as I am.
What the hell?  I might not have been into this whole fake-boyfriend-slash-bodyguard thing before, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to take advantage of the situation.  Especially now that I know how alive he makes me feel.  Three years since I had pleasure from anything other than my own hand, and if that kiss is anything to go by, what Chance could make me feel is ten times more powerful than anything I’ve ever felt in my whole life.
I’m not passing that up.
Nope.
No fucking way.
“We’ll see about that.”

 
Harper Sloan


Harper is a NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL and USA TODAY bestselling author residing in Georgia with her husband and three daughters. She has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books, hibachi, tattoos and Game of Thrones. When she isn't writing you can almost always find her with a book in hand.

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